First of all, please review my previous blog entries for math tips and reading tips. There won’t be sentence completion questions on the new SAT, but you should still practice your vocabulary (e.g., using the yellow flash cards in the Barron’s SAT book).
Most importantly, you should practice the new SAT essay if you plan to take the essay portion. You should, since UC schools will require you to take the SAT essay. You don’t have to take my word for it – here’s the information, straight from UC: http://universityofcalifornia.edu/news/five-things-you-should-know-about-new-sat
So, PLEASE review the essay chapter in the “new SAT” review book of your choice (e.g., Barron’s New SAT, similar books from Kaplan, Princeton Review, McGraw-Hill, Gruber, or the official College Board guide). If you don’t have access to a “new SAT” review book (the older books won’t help) – try these online resources.
In this case, there’s no better source for practice material and advice than the College Board (maker of the SAT) itself:
This site will tell you exactly how the essays are scored, what they seek in an answer, and provides sample essays from worst (scoring 1 in reading, writing, and analysis, for 3 out of 12) to best (scoreing 4 in all three categories for a total of 12).
Basically, you don’t want to tell the grader what you think of the author’s position, although you should mention that others might have obvious counter-arguments to his or her position, and what they are. The main point of your answer should be to show the grader you know what rhetorical devices. For example, it’s good to use terms such as “allusion,” “assertions supported by evidence,” “question followed by debate pro and con,” “rhetorical questions,
“pathos/appeals to emotion,” “ad hominem attack,” “straw man,” “slippery-slope argument.” If you don’t know these terms, look them up. It’s also a good idea to look up “logical fallacies” or “fallacious arguments” using Google, Bing, or whatever search engine. If, on test day, you don’t know or recall the terms, just do your best to describe what the writer does in each paragraph, how they techniques are meant to support the argument, and, if you like, comment on if they succeed in doing so.
In my opinion, DON’T follow the advice used in here :
It’s a good idea to come prepared to write basically the same essay analyzing whatever piece of writing you read as part of the prompt, but I don’t find this template, mentioned in the article above, particularly useful:
“In [Article Title], [Author Name] synthesizes a compelling dissertation that [Passage’s Key Point]. Although some detractors may believe [What Detractors Believe], the arguments set forth in the article dismiss such romantic critics as excessively dogmatic in their provincial ideology. One of the broader notions presented in the essay is that [Major Idea in Article]. [Author’s Last Name] deftly delivers a cogent argument to sway his/her readers by [3 CREW SAID Tools]”
While this introduction sounds “smart,” using words and phrases such as “compelling dissertation” and “excessively provincial in their dogmatic ideology,” the overuse of such phrases would indicate to me that the student is trying to impress me, and quite possibly does not understand their meaning. Also, how the heck would you know the critics of the person’s point of view are “romantic,” meaning excessively emotional, led by sentimental or wishful thinking, etc.
Just as with the old SAT essays, it’s a bad idea to memorize an essay and then try to “cut and paste” it to fit the prompt. For example, what if the writer’s arguments actually do not “dismiss [the argument’s] critics as excessively dogmatic in their provincial ideology?” You’re going to look stupid to the grader, and your grade will suffer. The extra minute or so it takes actually to review the prompt and judge it on its own merits will help you score better than kids who were taught to memorize such insipid, pretentious pseudo-intellectual drivel and regurgitate it on the SAT, especially if the grader’s already seen a few essays that all start with this prefabricated opening paragraph.
And no, I don’t care that the founder of this company won a “Shark Tank” prize to found his company. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/02/29/taking-the-new-sat-five-tips-from-an-expert-who-won-a-shark-tank-deal-for-test-prep/
With that, I’m done for now – good luck on the new SAT!
Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.